Filed under: Healthy Swellness

Healthy Swellness: My Goals for 2022

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I fared pretty poorly at working on my goals for 2021. Last year, I was exhausted and had little free time. It’s difficult to make certain things like reading a priority when working seven days a week and typically 16-18 hour days. So my goals for this year are all about moving onward and upward! A better and healthier balance to how I spend my time.

I will read a minimum of 12 books this year. And I have a new strategy to motivate me: I set up a challenge with two of my best friends on the Goodreads app. First person to complete 12 books wins a prize, and the person who reads the most books wins a second prize. This taps into my competitive nature so it’ll keep me reading (I’ve already finished one book!).

I will get my running back on track. I usually run at least three times a week. In 2020, I ran the most ever in one year (thanks to completing the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee), and in 2021? The least I’ve run, I think, since I started running. I ran regularly at the beginning of the year because I had the Peloton Tread to test out. Having the Tread meant I was able to squeeze in a run at about midnight (the only time I could make for working out before falling into bed). But once I returned the Tread after my three-month trial, I barely ran at all. some months, I ran twice. All month. I completed only 307.7 kilometres all year long in 2021. As a result, while I have been working out, I haven’t been running and my pace is about as slow as it was when I first did the Learn to Run clinic. To get my runs done regularly, I will run-commute more (which has the bonus of saving on transit costs and avoiding the TTC, which has become an unsafe place with encounters with maskless, unhinged people every single ride). To also motivate me, I’ll register for an in-person race if I can find one that’s happening (i just find virtual races much tougher to be motivated for).

I will cook at least twice a week. Cooking regularly has never been an issue for me, until last year and I ended up eating much more instant foods and frozen stuff. So this year I will cook at least two meals a week. I’m doing more research for recipes online, and I just scored an Instant Pot at a thrift store so I’m excited to have this new gadget to play with this year. And when I need to I’ll make it easier to prepare my meals, whether that’s using a meal delivery plan like Chef’s Plate or Evive smoothies (pictured above).

I will blog at least twice a month. After only posting a handful of times last year, this year I’m committing to creating more content both for Instagram and the blog. Since I’m not traveling much or eating out much (what with the ongoing restrictions in Toronto, I’ll likely be covering more cooking and fitness and sharing favourite products.

Every day is a new day. I think one of the chefs on Top Chef said this in an episode I watched recently, and that’s how I’m approaching every day n 2022, as an opportunity to crush your goals and make your life better. I’d love to hear about any goals you’ve set for yourself this year!

Oh, and if you’ve got favourite Instant Pot recipes, please do share! And if you’re interested in a certain type of content from me, slide into my DMs!

Leave a Comment January 16, 2022

Healthy Swellness: 2021 Year in Review

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Here we are at the end of 2021. You know how they say time flies when you’re having fun? Well, it flies when you’re not having fun, too. And real talk: I don’t have it in me to do a thorough recap. There’s a lot about this year I’d rather not reminisce about. But I think it is helpful to look back, to see what I learned and how to move forward.

It’s been an exhausting 12 months. Most of this year, I worked 18-hour days and worked through many weekends.Because of my schedule, my running has completely derailed. After running more than I ever have last year, this year after the spring,  I barely ran at all. I also didn’t get to work towards any of my goals for the year: I read all of five books. What free time I had, I either used to sleep or just be a couch potato watching Netflix because I had zero energy to do much else (18-hour days and making sure my dog gets as much exercise that she needs leaves little else for anything).

But even with this grueling, relentless day to day throughout much of the year, as I scroll through my calendar and my camera roll, I see that there were bright moments this past year. I partnered with brands I’m fond of (Giant Tiger again, plus Osmows and Cookie Pal). I also started writing for the Toronto Star, and continued writing for other outlets like Destination Toronto and CAA. I started one job in the late winter I thought was a dream job (it was not) and started in the fall with another with a great team, so happy that I’m closing out the year on a good note professionally. Also through work, I’ve had lots of great opportunities: test drives with General Motors, day trips to small towns (including spending the day with some adorable goats), a visit to the beautiful Terre Bleu with its lavender and sunflower fields, a trial of the Peloton Tread (I was amongst the first in Canada to try it!) and the Bike+, so yes, there are still plenty of good things that happened workwise this year.

As for any sort of travel, 2021 was the year of road trips. As someone who has traveled regularly for many years, being here in Toronto since March 2020 hasn’t been much of a hard adjustment (I’m too tired to really have it sink in that I haven’t left Canada in forever), I’ve just shifted focus to fewer trips, all local travel. I’m so happy that I finally made it up to the Bruce Peninsula; Tobermory and Lion’s Head is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen Ontario. And  I got to enjoy a bit of cottage life, which has also never been a part of my lifestyle (I have not had any friends who own cottages, for one, and they’re so incredibly expensive), but this year I rented two, went to my bestie’s new cottage twice, and was lucky enough to visit another cottage in the fall (plus I had a great camping trip at my favourite campsite). Getting away from the city has been a soothing balm to the harshness of life in the city this year.

But not being able to travel is small potatoes in the big scheme of things. What I learned from this year is that I’m stronger than I think, and in the process, I also achieved one goal: to gain a greater sense of gratitude. Every day I give hugs to my little animal kingdom, and when it comes to my friends? Through all of 2021, my closest friends and family have kept me sane and I’ve tried to let them know how much they mean to me. And despite how tough this year was, everyone is healthy and safe (and we got double vaxxed with boosters soon!), and that’s what matters most.

Here’s to closing off the year safely and happily and making 2022 absolutely stellar!

KK xo

Leave a Comment December 31, 2021

Tech Swellness: At home with Amazon

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Now having been home without any international travel for a whole year, I’ve slept in my own bed more in the last 365 days than I have for the past decade or so. Being at home so much has made me want to carve out ways to streamline routines and habits, and make it a little more comfortable. Having routines can help ease stress, and so they contribute to your overall mental health.

I had a chat with Amazon Canada who teamed up with designer Arren Williams several weeks ago and learned about Amazon’s lineup of products and how they could work with my home decor. Although I’ve used a few Amazon products for a couple of years now, I recently upgraded both my Echo and my Firestick. I don’t consider myself a very techy person but the new and improved Echo and Fire TV Stick are such fun and do make my everyday life at home better.

The new Echo, an adorable sphere, fits in better with my aesthetic compared to the previous model I had (a black cylinder), and I’ve set up one routine thus far on it. Each morning, I say “Alexa, good morning!” and Alexa replies with the date (I never know the date so I like this little reminder), the time, the weather (so I know how to get dressed for the day, although let’s face it, it’s pretty much either sweatsuits and running gear now during lockdown life), what’s on my calendar for the day, and it ends with news tidbits from CBC News.

This routine I’ve set up is a quick little rundown that helps me prepare for the day. I left out traffic since I don’t drive regularly. I should set up a bedtime routine, too; that’s next on my to-do list. There’s another routine they suggest, which is for Alexa to share the weather once you turn off the alarm, which is a good one if you don’t have time to do the entire detailed good morning routine. Add in a traffic report if you’re driving, too (I mostly walk or bike so I’ve left that one out). And as always, the Echo is great as a Bluetooth speaker for listening to Spotify or my favourite podcasts (I’m currently catching up on episodes of Conan O’Brien’s podcast, along with Fake Doctors Real Friends, and Office Ladies).

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And the Amazon Fire TV Stick? I got one a few years ago and loved that I no longer had to watch everything on my laptop, which is great since I got rid of cable and  now mostly watch shows streaming from Prime, Netflix and C rave. My favourite thing about the new Fire TV Stick I got to replace my oldie? It has power, volume and mute on the remote, which is extremely handy for me since I seem to have misplaced my TV remote. But even better, it has an Alexa Voice Remote, so I just hold down the button and say, “Alexa, play Superstore” and it automatically finds and plays Superstore from Prime. Helluva lot more convenient than first having to google which streaming service a show is on, going onto the streaming service and then tediously typing in the show and searching for it. The Alexa Voice Remote is a game changer and IMO worth upgrading to the current Fire TV Stick if you’ve got an older model.

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My newest tech toy isn’t that new to the market but I’ve never had any smart lightbulbs until now. I’m excited to test out the Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting because I have a bad habit of falling asleep with the light on. Now I can set a routine for the light to slowly dim (and maybe it’ll prompt me to go to bed at a decent hour!) so that I don’t wake up at 3 a.m. to turn it off. And to help me wake up in the mornings? I can set up a routine to gradually brighten to help me ease into the day (which is especially helpful now in the winter with the sunrise so late). I’m only just getting started using the Philips Hue but I think it’ll really benefit my sleep routine. Stay tuned, I’ll report back on my Instagram!

How smart is your home? The smart home tools I’ve tried out so far really benefit my health and lifestyle (you don’t want to know how often I’ve used it to help find my phone in my place. Sometimes I find myself asking Alexa to help me find everything from my keys (and I don’t have a Tile on them) to my library book, that is how hooked I am!

Disclosure: Amazon Canada gifted me with the Amazon and Philips products.

2 Comments February 19, 2021

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